2013 Honda CRF250L vs. 2013 Kawasaki KLX250S - Video
Honda's all-new lightweight 250 shakes up the sleepy dual-sport class
With the introduction of Honda’s all-new CRF250L in October, the 250cc dual-sport class grew into a collection of motorcycles that truly offers something for everyone looking at this segment and displacement range of motorcycling.
At one end of the 250 D-S spectrum are the likes of Yamaha’s WR250R and Husqvarna’s TE250. Both machines are influenced by harder-edged dirtbike/motocross offerings from each brand. And as we learned in our 2012 Dual-Sport Shootout the racy Husky just squeaks by on its street-ability – it very much fits the characterization of a dirtbike with lights.
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Just as notable about the Yamaha and Husky’s higher performance quotient is pricing to match: both rides are well into the seven-grand range. Not unreasonable sums, but not necessarily appealing pricing, we suspect, to anyone other than riders that can fully appreciate and take advantage of the more serious off-road nature and up-spec components of the WR and TE.
Swing to the other end of the scale and you’ll find the Kawasaki KLX250S, Yamaha XT250, and the new CRF250L. Each is a capable machine on pavement or in the dirt, but they don’t excel in one arena at the expense of poor performance in the other.
These three 250s are good all ’round for what they offer – but not great at any one thing – and provide a cost savings of more than $2000 when compared to the pricey Husqvarna TE and Yamaha WR.
Although the KLX-S is more mild-mannered than bikes like the Husky, it otherwise outclassed the XT and CRF230L (the 250’s predecessor) when we compared them in 2008.
The Kawasaki is carbureted, as were the other two, but the KLX offered more useful features and greater performance; benefitted from suspension with multiple adjustment points, and cost only a few hundred dollars more than its competition. But times, they are a changin’.
All that’s left to do then is see just how well the solid-performing KLX250S can stand up to the new CRF250L.